Any divorce involving a dispute over spousal support is complex for that reason alone. If one or both spouses in your case is self-employed — perhaps as a business owner, a licensed professional operating a practice or an independent consultant — the financial acumen and negotiating strength of the law firm you choose may prove critical.
In contrast to child support orders, a spousal support (sometimes called alimony) award is not by any means an automatic outcome. Judges have wide discretion in determining the amount and duration of spousal support, as well as how they view parties' incomes and other financial aspects of a case.
Self-employment can add a critical level of complexity. The courts have much more discretion in what they include and exclude from the "cash flow" they use in basing spousal support. The courts have discretion to exclude from income amounts necessary to reinvest in the company where there is a sound business reason for such reinvestment. The courts can likewise exclude from income non-recurring income or expenses.
Spousal support is limited to what the marital standard of living was, regardless of post-separation increases in income; however, the courts have wide discretion in determining what the marital standard of living was, including not considering excessive spending that was financed by incurring debt, or by just looking at the last couple years of the marriage instead of a longer span.
At The Law Offices of Burch, Coulston & Shepard, LLP, we have the knowledge and associated expert resources to build the strongest possible case for you. Our strengths are visible in our track record in reaching just outcomes of family law matters with many millions of dollars on the line.
We will prioritize the key aspects of your case: preparing and demanding financial disclosures, exposing assets, analyzing tax returns and other records, and establishing your position. Whether you are seeking the spousal support you deserve or you are a self-employed spouse striving to protect your business against unreasonable demands, our firm is a proven resource.
Taking a balanced, personally attentive approach, our lawyers will work to negotiate the optimum spousal support outcome for you. Should negotiations and mediation fail, you will have a dynamic, trial-proven litigator on your side in court.
To discuss the issues in your financially complex divorce with an attorney equipped to make a real difference for you, request a consultation at our Newport Beach-based firm today. We welcome clients from throughout Orange County and throughout Southern California.